The Same School, Only Better...

150 Years of Growth and Resilience


September 13, 1865

The Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies opens in Waterbury, CT

“A very serious need has been felt of late… the need of a wider, higher, stronger, more liberal education for young women; and this not only for the very wealthy few who can pay for it…”

Elsewhere in the United States...

April 9, 1865
The Civil War ends


April 15, 1865
President Lincoln is assassinated


December 18, 1865
Slavery is abolished


After closing for a year due to difficulty “finding a suitable teacher” and outstanding debt, the Collegiate Institute reopens as Saint Margaret’s School for Girls.


McTernan School opens for boys through eighth grade.

Mr. McTernan believes children have “a basic goodness and willingness to learn” and that primary school should teach them how to learn.


A new gymnasium wing is built at Saint Margaret’s School.

“Why should not girls get the benefit of gymnasiums as much as their brothers in college, for their own sakes as well as for that of future generations? American girls do not exercise half enough….”


McTernan School enrollment grows to 35 pupils.

A new school building with three classrooms, an office, and a small gym on the top floor is built on Columbia Boulevard.

1920s onward

Interest in sports develops through the 1920s at McTernan School, beginning with a cross-country team and a hiking program.

These were followed by basketball, six-man football, and baseball.

Elsewhere in the United States…


Women were given the right to vote when the 19th amendment to the U.S. constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920.

Just two days later, the Waterbury Republican Party set up a special information desk to help women register to vote. 


A new Saint Margaret’s School campus is constructed on Chase Parkway.

“…in a new home amid far more beautiful surroundings lives the school that was and is Saint Margaret’s. The old ideals are with us in the new home. It is the same school, only in a better sense.”


McTernan students support the war effort through sales of publications.

“We are only publishing one magazine this year and it can’t have many pages because of the paper shortage. If you have anyone in the Service who knows McTernan School, will you pass it on to him? Maybe it will make him laugh, and maybe it will let him know we are behind him and doing what we can to bring him back safely.”

Elsewhere in the United States…


The United States entered WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Waterbury’s factories converted to military production and went into nonstop operation, recruiting women for jobs normally held by men. Daily life was restricted, with food and gasoline carefully rationed.


Saint Margaret’s School aids Waterbury flood victims from Hurricanes Connie and Diane.

“At 10:15 p.m. the first group arrived. There were nine people, now homeless…. Thus began the long hours of physically working almost to exhaustion, and of being mentally tired… By 2:00 a.m. eighty people had been put to bed and things had just begun for the ladies of Saint Margaret’s. All night cars arrived…”

1954 – 1967

Saint Margaret’s School campus is enlarged and modernized.


Shepardson Memorial Building
(now Shepardson Memorial Wing of Camp Hall)


Templeton Athletic Field

Elsewhere in the United States…

Peace Corps is established


Cuban Missile Crisis


Civil Rights March on Washington
Martin Luthur King, Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech


Fulkerson Building
(now Fulkerson Arts Center)


Centennial Library and Art Annex
(now McTernan Centennial Library)

Elsewhere in the United States…

Vietnam conflict begins


Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon


Science Building
(now Upper School north wing)


After several years of deliberation and study, Saint Margaret’s School and McTernan School decided to merge, creating a stronger, larger school, with better educational opportunities for the students, while preserving the traditions that made each school unique.

Elsewhere in the United States…


Throughout the Nation, schools were closing and many single-sex schools were becoming co-educational, often by merging.


Goss Field House is built.

Football and soccer are added to the School’s athletic program.

Elsewhere in the United States…


Personal computers are pervasive enough to be chosen as TIME magazine’s “Machine of the Year.”


After a lengthy and thoughtful deliberation, Chase Collegiate School becomes the School’s new name.

Incorporating language honoring both our founding school (Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies) and the Chase family who were instrumental in the founding of both Saint Margaret’s and McTernan Schools, the new name reflects a unified, coeducational, non-religious, college preparatory school.


To support a growing Upper School enrollment, an 18,000 square foot addition to the Upper School featuring photovoltaic (solar) panels on the roof was opened.

The Harford Business Journal recognized it as one of the 25 largest clean energy-powered buildings in Connecticut.

Elsewhere in the United States…


The first African American president of the United States was elected on November 4, 2008. Barack H. Obama was sworn into office on January 20, 2009.


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Our history, our future - looking backwards to look forward

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